When interviewing someone for a job, we generally have a few key characteristics that, if found, would indicate the person will be successful with our company, right? But, how often do we look at our own sales teams with the same amount of examination?
What I’ve found over the years, whether it’s with Fortune 500 companies or smaller firms on the rise, is that there ARE some key characteristics of successful sales teams. You just need to know what they are, always be looking for them and provide guidance when some go missing. This video sums up what I’m talking about and I expand upon it more below:
Speaking in One Voice
“One voice” means presenting a consistent message that articulates your uniqueness in business. When business developers/consultants/salespeople are left to their own devices they will craft a message they are comfortable presenting. This does not create resonance in the marketplace.
Resonance (Webster’s definition): the quality of sound that stays loud, clear and deep for a long time, a quality that makes something personally meaningful to someone.
Listening First, Selling Second
Sound familiar? That’s because I wrote previously about the importance of listening in any sales situation. Your team must master the art of listening with empathy…they have to feel the pain of their client and stay in it with them. But just hearing them is not enough.
Understanding Clients and Their Language
Each industry has it’s lingo…a dialect of acronyms, product specs, services, etc., that define it. Does your team know that language? That’s a good start. More importantly, though, is understanding the atmosphere and climate of each client’s industry. Your team needs to anticipate problems, foresee opportunities and be there with solutions before the competition. That takes work that is never finished…it’s an ongoing process.
Offering Solutions, Nice to Haves
A colleague of mine early in his career worked for a major consumer electronics chain. During the sales training process, he was tested on audio product features for a particular amplifier. One such feature was “Dual Illumination,” which gave the option of the display screen being lit in blue or orange. When asked during the test why a customer would want that feature, my colleague, not having a good answer, said “Why? Well…you just gotta have it!” If only it were so easy. Your sales team needs to offer solutions to real problems, not just “nice to haves” that aren’t mission critical. And if they don’t know if your service or product can provide a solution, then they need to do more homework. “You gotta have it!” isn’t going to work for them!
By they way…it didn’t work for my colleague either. He failed the test.
Using these four sales team characteristics as the basis, how does your team stack up? Let me know. -SG